Vascular Associates of South Alabama provides diagnosis of and treatment for carotid artery disease (CAD) in the Daphne, AL, area. We're here to help you address your concerns about your vascular health.
Stroke is a significant health concern for many people, posing a serious risk for many patients right here on the Alabama Gulf Coast. Thanks to successful campaigns to educate people of the symptoms of stroke, most of us are at least somewhat familiar with the F-A-S-T acronym—Face drooping, Arm weakness, Speech difficulty, Time to call 911. However, many are much less aware of carotid artery disease (also known as CAD) or the fact that CAD contributes to nearly 20% of stroke cases.
Awareness is the first step toward avoiding and successfully treating life-threatening arterial diseases. Understanding what CAD is and knowing your risk factors is crucial for assessing your personal risk of stroke. Vascular Associates of South Alabama provides diagnostic and treatment support to individuals seeking to manage CAD and improve their health outcomes. We have several convenient locations across the Gulf Coast region, including one on the Baldwin County Eastern Shore. Let us help you with your vascular health!
To schedule a consultation with Vascular Associates, call 251-410-8272!
Medical Treatment for Carotid Artery Disease (CAD) in the Daphne, AL, Area
The Carotid Artery:
Actually, people are born with two carotid arteries. The carotid arteries are major arteries situated on either side of a person's neck. Their function in the body is to supply oxygenated blood from the heart to the brain. When a doctor or other medical professional takes someone's pulse at the side of the neck, what they're really doing is feeling the rhythm or heart rate through the carotid artery. Healthy blood flow to the brain is vital for healthy brain function. Without it, a person cannot survive.
Carotid Artery Disease (CAD) Defined:
What is carotid artery disease (CAD)? Simply put, CAD is what happens when plaque accumulates inside the carotid artery, along the arterial walls. Plaque develops slowly. It's a gradual buildup of fatty deposits that eventually narrow the artery. With a narrowed carotid artery, blood flow is obstructed. If the obstruction becomes significant enough, the brain can no longer receive sufficient blood to function properly, culminating in a transient ischemic attack (TIA).
Risks Associated with a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA):
Because the progression of carotid artery disease is a gradual process, a person with CAD usually doesn't show symptoms until a stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA) takes place. A TIA is a brief period of neurological dysfunction caused by an obstruction of the blood flow to the brain. A transient ischemic attack can have a variety of symptoms, including difficulty seeing with one or both eyes, slurred speech or difficulty speaking, numbness or weakness on one side of the body, loss of balance, dizziness, and difficulty with walking.
While the outward signs of a TIA may appear much like a stroke, unlike the more serious medical emergency known as a stroke, symptoms of a TIA are short-lived, usually lasting only a few minutes—but don't be complacent! It's vital not to be lulled into a false sense of security by the "transient" or brief nature of a TIA. If you or someone else in your life has experienced any of the symptoms associated with TIA, it's essential to seek medical attention right away, even if you or they feel better afterward and have been able to resume their regular activities. Suffering a TIA indicates that you need medical assistance to prevent a more severe future problem. In fact, TIAs are often a precursor to a major stroke, so medical attention should always be sought after a suspected TIA. Consider the TIA a serious warning and a chance to take action right away.
Carotid Artery Disease (CAD) Diagnosis on the Baldwin County Eastern Shore
Carotid artery disease can have severe implications on a person's health. As explained above, restricted blood flow to the brain increases the likelihood of a stroke. There are a couple of ways in which CAD can trigger a stroke, the first being when a small piece of the plaque inside the artery breaks off and obstructs the brain's blood vessels, resulting in an embolism. The second, less frequent cause of stroke is the complete blockage of the carotid artery, leading to a total cutoff of blood flow to the brain.
However it occurs, a stroke can have catastrophic effects on the brain. Even a few minutes of oxygen deprivation can result in permanent damage to the brain. A severe stroke can even cause immediate death. In fact, in the United States, stroke is currently one of the leading causes of both brain damage and death. That's why the caring team at Vascular Associates works hard to help patients along the Baldwin County Eastern Shore assess, address, and reduce their risk for CAD and stroke.
Diagnosis for Patients at Risk for CAD in Daphne, AL
Are you aware of your personal risk factors for developing carotid artery disease? While anyone can have CAD, many people are at an increased risk due to various factors including genetics, underlying medical conditions, and lifestyle choices. Below is a list of common reasons for an enhanced risk for CAD:
- High Cholesterol
Unhealthy cholesterol levels contribute to the build-up of arterial plaque.
- High Blood Pressure
Uncontrolled high blood pressure weakens and damages the artery walls.
Diabetes can cause difficulty with processing fats and blood sugar, contributing to a higher risk of plaque formation and high blood pressure.
Being overweight increases risks for high blood pressure, diabetes, and CAD.
With advancing age arteries stiffen, making them more vulnerable to damage.
Smoking increases blood pressure and heart rate and may irritate the arteries' lining, leaving them susceptible to plaque.
- Family History
Susceptibility to CAD can be genetic, so if you have a close family member with CAD, be proactive.
Vascular Associates of South Alabama can help you assess your risk of developing CAD. We have offices conveniently located throughout the area, including one near Daphne, AL! Click here to schedule a consultation or screening for CAD.
Carotid Artery Disease Treatment Specialists on the Baldwin County Eastern Shore
Are you looking for ways to manage your risk factors for CAD or seeking local treatment options? Have you experienced stroke-like symptoms? Vascular Associates of South Alabama is here to assist you. Our team of vascular specialists can help diagnose CAD and related vascular conditions. Should you require treatment, we'll create a plan tailored to your unique circumstances.
If you're at an increased risk of CAD, with health conditions such as diabetes or high cholesterol, managing those can significantly lower your risk. Sometimes making simple changes, such as exercising often, quitting smoking, and eating a healthier diet with limited fat, cholesterol, and alcohol, can make an amazing difference in your health. For other patients, life-saving surgery may be necessary—but we'll be here to talk you through every option and provide the best care possible.
Let Vascular Associates of South Alabama help you evaluate your condition and develop a plan to manage your CAD risk factors. We're dedicated to guiding patients in the Daphne area toward a brighter, healthier future!
Contact us online or give us a call today to schedule your appointment.